Wednesday, March 02, 2005

On Adventuring

So I heard from Phil today about some of what's going on with him in his basic training for the military:

"A week of winter camping, an 8 km rucksack jog, forced marches with simulated grenade, artillery attacks and gas attacks. Rations 3 times a day which you have to keep by your body so that they are not frozen when you have to eat them. frozen everything, including your water. Sentry duty at 3 in the morning. Attacks on your base as you are preparing to go to sleep, the constant threat of night attacks on the back of your mind as you sleep. Having to lead a tired frozen platoon in a compition against better trained opposition and getting punished when you didn't win. Having to carry your ruck and kit bag for a kilometer and then up 6 flights of stairs as the last thing at the end of the week. There was some fun things though.

"Hiking through the woods with a squad of 4 men, navigating by compass and map at night with Helicopters flying overhead and explosions and gunfire in the distance. doing small party taskings and taking my syndicate which seemed to be the picked crop of the misfits and screwups and successfully leading them to complete the task.

"Everybody who went looks like the folks from the pizza ads who look in the oven too long. The joys of beingoutside all day on a sunny day with snow everywhere. The field raises everything to a new level. Dealing with freezing cold temperatures, bad food (and canadian rations are considered some of the best) and arduous long days that go from 0500 to 2300, not including the sentry and fire picket duties that are to be done at night."*

The first thing that popped into my head when I read that was "Urayamashii!" I'm so jealous! Honestly, I would love to take part in something like that, with all the difficulties and frustrations. It sounds so appealing.

It is very strange sometimes to look down the path laid out for another person, and to see that it is a good path, and to know that you will never walk it. The thing I wrote in response was to say how much of a wiener I felt like to be living in near tropical weather, working at a regular job and doing as I please. I said I was envious of his adventuring.

And then I remembered that I live in a small town in backwater Japan where only a handful of people can hold a conversation in my native language. "Am I not having my own adventure?" I asked myself. But I was not sure of the response. Living abroad does not neccessarily equal adventure. Hearing from Phil was a good motivation to strive to make the most out of my time here, lest I go home and find myself to be nearly the same as when I left.


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